State News

Central Prison inmates attack staffer

Posted June 19, 2018 1:21 p.m. EDT
Updated June 21, 2018 7:11 p.m. EDT

— An employee at Central Prison was assaulted by two inmates Tuesday afternoon, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Inmates Jaquan Lane and Andrew Ellis assaulted Unit Manager Brent Soucier with a homemade weapon in a housing area of the maximum-security prison at about 12:30 p.m., authorities said.

Soucier, 44, a 19-year veteran at the prison, was taken to a local hospital for treatment of a serious injury, and both inmates were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.

The housing area where the assault occurred was placed on lockdown.

The incident was under internal investigation, and local law enforcement and the State Bureau of Investigation are also looking into the incident.

Ellis is serving a four-year sentence for weapons charges, while Lane is serving a seven-year robbery sentence.

Numerous prison attacks in recent months

The attack is one of many reported at North Carolina prisons in the past year. Officials said 2017 was the deadliest year in the history of the state’s prison system.

Last fall, four employees were killed during an escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City.

It was later discovered by the National Institute of Corrections that the prison had a staffing vacancy of about 25 percent and was deemed unsafe to fully operate on the day of the attack. The team also found that most officers were minimally trained.

In the 2016-17 fiscal year, 790 assaults by inmates were reported in state prisons, according to the Department of Public Safety. That was down from 845 the previous year and 850 in 2014-15.

More recently, a corrections officer was assaulted at Pasquotank Correctional on March 8 and was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Prosecutors say they want the death penalty for an inmate accused of beating to death an officer at Bertie Correctional Institution last year.

An officer at Foothills Correctional Institution in Morganton was attacked earlier this month by an inmate with a shank. The inmate was charged with assault.

A prison officer at Maury Correctional Institution in Greene County received a non-life-threatening injury after an inmate attack in March.

A second attack occurred about two hours later when an inmate walked up behind a case manager and hit them on the head with his fist. A supervisor trying to break up the scuffle was also hurt.